Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round Up #15: 23-30 June 1996

Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round Up #15: 23-30 June 1996

Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network

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This is number 15 in a series of weekly reports from IRIN on general developments in the Great Lakes region. Sources for the information below include UN, NGO, other international organizations and media reports. IRIN issues these reports for the benefit of the humanitarian community, but accepts no responsibility as to the accuracy of the original sources.

Weekly Roundup of Main Events in the Great Lakes region
23 - 30 June 1996
# A technical committee headed by Tanzania and comprising foreign ministers from the sub-region will meet in Arusha on Monday 1 July to consider how best they can meet the Burundi Government's request for regional security assistance to help end escalating violence in the country. The request, which has been angrily rejected by both Burundi's UPRONA party and PARENA (the Party for National Recovery), was made at a summit on Burundi held in Arusha on Tuesday. The technical committee has been charged with reporting back to regional leaders prior to the OAU summit in Cameroon from 8-10 July. An international diplomatic source told reporters on Friday that "security assistance" would probably entail protection of politicians, civil servants and key installations, including schools, universities, health facilities and telecommunications. Other likely assistance would be the training of police and paramilitary gendarmerie. The same diplomatic source said the current thinking was that the Tanzanian and Ugandan armies would provide the bulk of the security force, while Kenya might contribute police. Western countries would be expected to foot the bill.

Although the Prime Minister, Antoine Nduwayo, a member of UPRONA, has stressed that the government was not seeking a military operation, the outcome of the Arusha summit has caused deep division within the UPRONA party. The President of UPRONA, Charles Mukasi has denounced both Burundi's President, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya and the Prime Minister for an act of "high treason". Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, who ruled Burundi from 1976-1987 and is now head of PARENA, has openly called for the overthrow of the President and Prime Minister. During a rally organised by PARENA in Bujumbura on Saturday, Bagaza called for demonstrations, work stoppages, strikes and for the training of boys and girls to challenge what he called "foreign military intervention". PARENA has been accused of being behind a number of Tutsi militias operating in Burundi, including the Sans Echecs and Sans Defaites.

Tuesday's summit was attended by the presidents of Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, the former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, OAU secretary-general, Salim Ahmed Salim and the OAU chairman, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. Zaire's place was filled by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Kititwa Tumansi. Opening the summit, host President, Benjamin Mkapa warned about the "almost frantic" amassing of weapons of all kinds by each group in Burundi and said that if violence continued the wider international community might feel obliged to intervene. The UN Security Council had ordered consultations for a military backed intervention in Burundi, but no western government had offered to take the lead in such an operation. The OAU said recently that it would support military intervention in Burundi if the situation worsens and the mission had clear objectives and UN backing. # A senior Burundian defence ministry official said that Burundi's Army had killed 31 Hutu insurgents in a gunbattle in Cibitoke on Thursday. More than 20 other people, some of them civilians, were caught in the crossfire. The official, who declined to be named, said the gunbattle took place near Mugina village when government troops retaliated after rebels ambushed a military escorted civilian convoy.

# UNHCR warned on Wednesday that a shortage of funds could prove catastrophic for refugees on the borders of Rwanda and said that the agency was considering relocating refugees in eastern Zaire to improve security and allow them to grow their own food. UNHCR faces a funding shortfall of almost US$ 193 million in the Great Lakes region this year. A spokesperson for UNHCR in Geneva told Reuters that "lives may be put at risk, clinics are already being closed down and we may be unable to keep health services at adequate levels". The spokesperson said that the combination of the funding crisis and blocked repatriation to Rwanda was forcing UNHCR to look at new options, one of which would be to move the camps temporarily further inland. Such a move, said the spokesperson, would also improve security in the border areas.

# Three Rwandan refugees, two Zairian army officers and three security guards were killed in an attack on a Zairian military encampment and a Red Cross depot near Kibumba refugee camp in eastern Zaire. The attack, carried out by unidentified gunmen, took place on Thursday 27 June. Another four people were wounded. The High Commissioner for Refugees, Ms Sadako Ogata said on Friday that the attack reinforced the belief that the refugee camps, especially those in Eastern Zaire, should be moved from the border for security reasons.

# On Friday (28/6/96) some 1267 Burundese refugees arrived at the Cibitoke/Cyangugu border and were transported by IOM to the communal office in Bugarama. The number of refugees doubled over the weekend. The refugees reported leaving Burundi following the deaths of family members and the destruction of houses. They said they had been ordered last week to leave their communes and seek refuge at the communal office of Mugina. According to the refugees, this office was attacked and several people killed, prompting the group to flee to Rwanda. A decision will reportedly be taken on Tuesday 2 July 1996 about a suitable site for the refugees, following a meeting between civil and military authorities. Humanitarian assistance, meanwhile, has been provided by UNHCR and NGOs.

# Twenty-eight Rwandan civilians, including 19 survivors of the 1994 genocide, are reported to have been killed in Gisenyi Prefecture on Friday night. Witnesses told investigators that between 10 and 30 unidentified men entered the area shortly after midnight on Friday attacking residents and stealing their property. The UN's Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda (HRFOR) is investigating the report. The new killings follow in the wake of the murder on 18 to 19 June of genocide survivors and their relatives in Kibuye Prefecture. An HRFOR statement issued this week says that a group of 40 to 50 infiltrators from Idjwi Island Zaire attacked a village in Bunyamanza Cellule approximately one kilometre from the Lake Kivu shore. Around 10-12 genocide survivors, three of their relatives and one RPA soldier were killed. Three more minors and one infant were injured during the attack. Nearly all of the 60 residents of the village were genocide survivors. HRFOR says that it is seriously concerned about the increasing number of attacks on genocide survivors in recent months.

# US and UN officials are reported to have warned Americans in Rwanda to take increased precautions after a new rebel group announced rewards for killing US citizens. In a statement faxed to news agencies in Nairobi on Thursday, the People in Arms for the Liberation of Rwanda (PALIR), a Hutu group which claims to be based in Cyangugu, Rwanda, offered US$ 1,500 for US Ambassador Robert Gribben and US$ 1,000 for any other US citizen. Cyangugu has been the scene of increased insurgency and infiltration over the past few months.

# The UN International Tribunal for Rwanda has indicted six more suspects in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and has extended a detention order for four others. The names of the six have not been released for the time being. The four detained in Yaounde Cameroon pending indictment include Theoneste Bagosora, Chief of Staff of the Former Defence Minister. The Tribunal had hoped to transfer the four to Arusha from Cameroon in May but legal problems have delayed the move. The four will remain in custody in Cameroon until 17 July. Altogether, Cameroon authorities have detained 12 Rwandans on suspicion of crimes against humanity. Kenya's Attorney-General, Amos Wako defended Kenya at a meeting in Paris this week against an accusation that it was harbouring Rwandans suspected on being involved in the genocide. Replying to remarks made at an ad hoc seminar of Parliamentarians for Global Action, Mr. Wako said that out of hundreds of Rwandans living in Kenya only one or two had been indicted and arrest warrants issued by the Tribunal.

# Rwanda is now the poorest country in the world with a per capita income of only US$ 80, according to the 1996 World Bank Development Report released on Friday. Since 1994, Rwanda has slipped from 11th place and a per capita income of US$ 210. Kenya's per capita income has again slipped by US$ 20 to US$ 250 but its placing has improved from 15th to 17th on last year. Uganda's economic recovery is also reflected in the report which shows an average per capital income increase for three years in succession to its current US$ 190. There has also been a substantial improvement in Tanzania's economy which has moved from the world's second poorest country to fourth at US$ 140. For the first time this year all of the 10 poorest countries are in Africa.

To help Rwanda get back on its feet the World Bank has urged its government to pull out of inefficient state run enterprises. Of the country's 54 state run enterprises fewer than a dozen are considered viable.

# Kenyan Foreign Minister, Kalonzo Musyoka said this week that the statutes in the Vienna Convention covering diplomatic immunity should be reviewed to permit host countries to take proceedings against diplomats who commit crimes in their country of accreditation. The remarks followed the closure by Kenya of the Rwandan Embassy in Nairobi and deportation of a Rwandan diplomat who had been held in police custody in Kenya. Rwanda had refused to waive the diplomatic immunity of Administrative Attache, Francis Mugabo who was arrested in February accused of attempting to assassinate the former Rwanda Minister of Interior, Seth Sendashonga. Mr. Mugabo has accused Kenyan police of robbing and beating him and denying him medical treatment. Although the Embassy is closed, Kenya has stated that not all ties have been severed and Rwandan leaders are reported to want to mend fences with Kenya as soon as possible.

# The Ugandan Red Cross has suspended operations in northern Uganda following a rebel attack which left 10 dead, including one Red Cross worker, and 23 wounded. Rebels from the West Nile Bank front were suspected of responsibility for Monday's attack on Koboko, 360 kms northwest of Kampala. A statement issued in Geneva by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said that activities in three camps for Sudanese refugees in the vicinity of the attack had been suspended for the foreseeable future. On Tuesday, another rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) was accused of executing eight of its members for allegedly spying for the government. Earlier this month the Ugandan Army stepped up counter insurgency operations in the north after a spate of LRA attacks against soldiers and villages in which 350 people were killed.

# A poor turnout was reported in most of the city's polling stations this week as Ugandans voted for new parliamentarians. Early reports showed a clear lead by Cabinet Ministers. A total of 814 candidates are contesting the 214 seats. Following the swearing in of members of parliament by 3 July, President Yoweri Museveni is expected to name a new Cabinet next week.

# The OAU appealed on Thursday to leaders of the Group of Seven who are meeting in Lyons, France for debt relief for African states totalling US$ 313 billion. OAU chairman Meles Zenawi also urged for improved conditions for development aid to Africa. The Group of Seven states are USA, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Britain and Japan.


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From: Ben Parker <> Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 17:24:26 +0300 (GMT+0300) Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round Up #15 23 - 30 June 1996 96.6.30 Message-Id: <>

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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